Jakim clamps down on films

(The Star) PUTRAJAYA: The Islamic Religious Develop-ment Department of Malaysia (Jakim) is embarking on a blitz against films that focus on horror, myth, superstition and false traditional elements which go against religious teachings.

Such films, dramas and publications have been deemed to be against the aqidah (faith) of the Muslims and violate clear guidelines issued by the religious authority.

Jakim research division director Razali Shahabudin said it would summon all producers and publishers to attend a seminar and present the guidelines as a reminder before the end of the year.

“I believe that if they know it is wrong they will not do it,” he said in a recent interview.

“They know about Islam, but we have to keep reminding them,” he added.

Jakim would also highlight the matter in its sermons and on its television slot, TV Jakim, which is expected to be aired soon.

Razali said that Jakim, through its media control division, had received numerous public complaints pertaining to such films and publications particularly foreign ones via its web blogs.

He said such themes were prohibited by the ahl Sunnah Wal Jamaah (Islamic doctrine) and violated guidelines for Islamic-based publications.

He added that such films and articles were being monitored periodically and the department had issued advice and written letters asking the relevant parties to stop broadcasting or publishing the offensive themes.

Jakim has two guidelines which serve as references for government agencies involved in controlling media materials to ensure broadcast materials do not deviate from the teachings of Islam based on the belief of ahl Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

Jakim also encourages the parties involved to refer matters to them or respective religious authorities including the ulama and mufti before broadcasting or publishing such themes.

Razali said if the problem became serious and a fatwa (decree) had to be issued, Jakim would refer the matter to the National Fatwa Council muzakarah (meeting).

He added that Jakim had advised producers and scriptwriters to promote interesting stories that could benefit the religion, race and the country’s economy.